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Chapter 3. Building Basic Formulas > The Order of Precedence

The Order of Precedence

Excel's order of precedence is determined by the various formula operators outlined earlier. Table 3.4 summarizes the complete order of precedence used by Excel.

Table 3.4. The Excel Order of Precedence
OperatorOperationOrder of Precedence
:Range1st
<space>Intersection2nd
,Union3rd
--Negation4th
%Percentage5th
^Exponentiation6th
* and /Multiplication and division7th
+ and --Addition and subtraction8th
&Concatenation9th
= < > <= >= <>Comparison10th


From this table, you can see that Excel performs exponentiation before addition. Therefore, the correct answer for the formula =3+5^2, given previously, is 28. Notice also that some operators in Table 3.4 have the same order of precedence (for example, multiplication and division). This means that it usually doesn't matter in which order these operators are evaluated. For example, consider the formula =5*10/2. If you perform the multiplication first, the answer you get is 25 (5*10 equals 50, and 50/2 equals 25). If you perform the division first, you also get an answer of 25 (10/2 equals 5, and 5*5 equals 25). By convention, Excel evaluates operators with the same order of precedence from left to right, so you should assume that's how your formulas will be evaluated.

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